G-45. Analytical Bibliography - Advance Reading List

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  • Required Reading

    Blayney, Peter W.M. The First Folio of Shakespeare. Washington, DC: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1991. Page for page, this may be the best introduction to the bibliography of early modern books ever written. Try to start with this before proceeding to Gaskell. However, it is now out of print and used copies are insanely priced. (Be careful not to confuse this paperback with the even pricier Norton facsimile bearing the same title and an introduction by Blayney.) If you can’t find a library copy, and don’t fancy starting your own rare book collection, please let us know and we will assist.

    Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. Winchester and New Castle, DE: St. Paul’s Bibliographies & Oak Knoll Press, 2009 (reprint of the corrected 1974 printing; any except the 1972 first printing is fine). Still the standard introduction to historical bibliography, with frequent references to analytical matters along the way. Try to have read (selectively) pp. 5–12, 40–141, 164–170, and 311–320, and become familiar with the basics of the collation formulary on pp. 328–332. You may want to bring a copy of Gaskell to class. The more basic imposition diagrams following p. 87 will play a central role in the course, though RBS practice format sheets will be available.

    If you find yourself overwhelmed by bibliotopology, try watching the video presentation The Anatomy of a Book: I. Format in the Hand-Press Period, written by Terry Belanger and directed by Peter Herdrich. The video is now available on YouTube; a DVD with accompanying workbook and facsimile practice sheets can be purchased from Rare Book School for $45. The DVD alone can be purchased for $25. Please note: students located outside of the United States must contact RBS for international shipping rates before sending payment. If after watching the video you still feel unsure with the basic impositions and foldings, you should take either G-10 or G-20 before tackling this course.

    Tanselle, G. Thomas. Bibliographical Analysis: A Historical Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Although the course will not follow Tanselle’s historical approach, you will find it very useful to be familiar with Chapters 1 and 2 of this book. (We will not cover the topics in Chapter 3.) Tanselle’s tightly reasoned exploration of the values and pitfalls of different types of evidence goes beyond what we will be able to cover in a week, and its reading list (with accompanying chronological and subject indexes) cannot be bettered for the Anglo-American sphere. Don’t worry if everything doesn’t make sense at first—that’s what the class is for. Tanselle’s list of works cited is supplemented by his own Introduction to Bibliography (2002), pp. 255–365.

    McKenzie, D.F. “Printers of the Mind: Some Notes on Bibliographical Theories and Printing-House Practices.” Studies in Bibliography 22 (1969): 1–75. Reprinted in his Making Meaning: “Printers of the Mind” and Other Essays, edited by Peter D. McDonald and Michael F. Suarez, S.J. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002). McKenzie rocked the little world of bibliography with his demonstration that some common assumptions about printing shop work-flow were not borne out by the records of an actual eighteenth-century establishment. This is a complex and technical article, but try to follow the general lines of evidence leading to the conclusion that shops were often printing more than one job at once. McKenzie’s caveats about the implications of this, notwithstanding Tanselle’s criticisms in #3, need to temper any bibliographical investigation.

    Wilkinson, Hazel. “Printers’ Flowers as Evidence in the Identification of Unknown Printers: Two Examples from 1715”. The Library Seventh Series 14:1 (March 2013): 70–79. Optional but recommended as an example of analytical bibliography in action.